Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has the highest favorability rating of any potential 2016 candidate in Virginia, and would win in both primary and general matchups if the election were held today, according to a poll released Monday by Christopher Newport University.
Clinton, who has a 51 percent favorable rating among Virginia voters, dominated the Democratic primary survey, taking 66 percent to Vice President Joe Biden's 19 percent and Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) 7 percent.
The potential Republican primary field was less settled, with no candidate attracting more than 20 percent of the vote. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose favorability was second to Clinton's at 46 percent, took 19 percent, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) at 18 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) at 13 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) lagged in the single digits.
In general election matchups, Clinton took 43 percent to Christie's 41 percent. She had larger margins against other GOP candidates, with leads ranging from 7 to 15 points against Christie, Huckabee, Ryan, Cruz, Bush, Paul, Rubio and Walker.
With the election still two years away, name recognition plays an outsize role in Virginia and elsewhere, with the top candidates owing their support partially to their familiarity on the national stage. The two leading Democrats are household names -- just 7 percent of voters said they didn't know enough about Clinton to have an opinion, while 11 percent said the same of Biden. The GOP field, by contrast, is relatively unfamiliar. About a quarter of voters were undecided on Christie, Bush, and Huckabee, the best-known Republican candidates. Forty percent or more had no opinion on Rubio, Cruz or Walker.
The Christopher Newport poll surveyed 901 registered voters by phone between Feb. 23 and Feb. 28.